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Subaru crosstrek review feature

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review


The Subaru Crosstrek defines the Subaru brand today. For better or worse, the brand is no longer flaunting the exciting budget sportscars that once defined them by three letters ‘WRX’. And although the BRZ remains THE definitive budget sports car in my books, it’s fair to say that Subaru is focusing on the mass market with cars like the Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek.

All-new for 2023, the Subaru Crosstrek is a car that’s always intrigued me for its duality. Designed for both the daily commute and the weekend, it’s underpinned by Subaru’s famous Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system that offers safety and peace of mind both on and offroad.

With a boatload of new tech tucked inside an updated cabin shared with the new Outback and WRX, does the model do enough to sway buyers away from small SUVs and into a lifted hatchback? Does it still hold the torch to the competition offroad? Check out my review of the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek below to find out.

RELATED: 2023 Subaru Outback XT Offroad Test, Taking it Where Others Won’t.

Subaru Crosstrek at a Glance

High PointLow PointVerdict
Safe, full of equipment, tech, and spacious for its size. The Subaru Crosstrek will take you further than anything in its class.We always find ourselves asking for more power when we get behind the wheel of a Subaru these days. Can we get a 2.5-litre or turbo please?Our pick of the bunch would be the Subaru Crosstrek 2.0S we had on test. It might be down on power compared to the competition but it’s full of safety equipment and it’s always ready for adventure.

How Much Does the Subaru Crosstrek Cost?

The new Subaru Crosstrek is priced from $34,990 AUD plus on-road costs in the basic 2.0L combination before stepping up to $38,490 AUD for the 2.0R, $41,490 for the 2.0S as I have on test for this article, Hybrid L ($38,590 AUD) and Hybrid S ($45,090).

You’ll note that all models come with Subaru’s famous Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and 5-year unlimited-kilometre warranty period and 12-month complimentary Subaru Roadside Assistance.

A complete list of standard features for the Subaru Crosstrek range in Australia can be found at the end of my review.

Its closest competitors on paper are the Mazda CX-30 priced from $30,610 AUD and Toyota Corolla Cross that’s priced from $33,980 AUD.

Subaru crosstrek interior review 1
I’m constantly surprised at just how much kit Subaru has squeezed into a vehicle that starts at $34,990 AUD | Image: Supplied

What’s the Subaru Crosstrek Like on the Inside?

It’s amazing what Subaru has done with the cabin across their new range and I’m constantly surprised at just how much kit they’ve squeezed into a vehicle that starts at $34,990 AUD.

The interior will be instantly familiar to those who’ve read my Subaru Outback and Subaru WRX Wagon reviews, but as a quick refresher, you get standard full-screen Wireless Apple CarPlay and full-screen Android Auto connectivity on a centrally mounted 11.6-inch touchscreen display. It’s not the highest-resolution screen in the business, but it’s there and it works without fault.

There’s even a standard Wireless Qi charger to keep your phone topped up while connected alongside a single USB A and USB C port for charging supplementary devices in the front and back.

Subaru crosstrek interior rear seates
Rear passenger legroom is sufficient and you could comfortably drive four adults | Image: Supplied

In terms of what you can see and touch from the driver’s seat, the 2.0S model-grade vehicle I’m sitting in for this review gets leather accented seat trims, satellite navigation, and a 10-speaker audio system with Harmon Kardon amplifier, and a small electric sunroof.

Pretty much everything is done through the screen, bar a couple of dials and buttons for climate and volume affixed to the screen surround. There’s a toggle switch for the driver and passenger heated seats, but strangely the driver’s seat is the only one that’s power-adjustable which can be annoying if you’re sharing the car with a partner or friend constantly. Thankfully, the seats are supportive, comfortable, and the heating gets nice and hot for cold winter days.

Rear passenger legroom is sufficient and you could comfortably drive four adults around for a couple of hours if necessary. The headroom is good with a space cut into the headliner to fit taller adults, my 6’8″ brother included. Overall, the Subaru Crosstrek is pragmatic, comfortable, and spacious for taller drivers.

What powers the subaru crosstrek
The Subaru Crosstrek receives the basic 2.0-litre four-cylinder Boxer petrol engine | Image: Supplied

What Powers the Subaru Crosstrek?

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0S Engine Specifications
Engine2.0-litre four-cylinder horizontally-opposed Boxer petrol engine
Power115kW @ 6000rpm
Torque196Nm @ 4000rpm
TransmissionLineartronic CVT with 8-speed manual mode
Drive-typeSymmetrical All-Wheel Drive
Weight1532kg

In Australia, the Subaru Crosstrek receives the basic 2.0-litre four-cylinder Boxer petrol engine with headline figures of 115kW and 196Nm through a CVT transmission.

The numbers hardly jump off the page and the story is much the same when you get behind the wheel. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it underpowered but don’t expect to get anywhere quickly in the Crosstrek.

I’m yet to drive the e-Boxer Hybrid model that adds a 12.3kW electric motor to the 110kW four-cylinder Boxer petrol engine, but reports suggest it adds some pep off the line.

I also wouldn’t rule out the 2.5-litre petrol engine – or the turbo 2.4-litre from the Outback XT – making its way to the Subaru Crosstrek in the next 12 months either. The boss of Subaru Australia, Blair Read, told Drive “there’s scope in the lifecycle” over the next five years to add another engine.

There are a couple of different options that we’re working through… that could be brought to market over the life of this generation,” he said in the interview.

Subaru crosstrek review driving on the dirt
The Subaru Crosstrek comes into its own on the dirt | Image: Supplied

How Does the Subaru Crosstrek Drive?

Once you’re up and moving the Subaru Crosstrek is a very capable and safe vehicle to pilot. This is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the brand, but it’s the way they’re constantly tweaking and adding to these core pillars with safety systems above and beyond the competition.

At its core, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system offers plenty of confidence every time you get behind the wheel. It doesn’t matter if the roads are wet, windy, or maybe there are no roads at all, it’s a great system that gives you added peace of mind. I wanted to put this theory to the test so I headed out from Sydney along the Great North Road, Finchley Track to Finchley Lookout and back via. the Wollombi Road and St Alban’s. This gave me a chance to test the car on tarmac, dirt roads, and light offroad obstacles.

My journey started on the highway where the Subaru Crosstrek will spend most of its life as a daily commuter. It’s here that the car performs as expected, not blowing you away with speed, driving dynamics, or ride comfort. Compare it to the closest competitors such as the Mazda CX-30, Toyota Corolla Cross, and Hyundai Kona and you’ll find it’s on par and only let down in the power department.

Subaru crosstrek review how does it drive
The Subaru Crosstrek takes a lead on the competition in the driver’s assistance department with Subaru EyeSight | Image: Supplied

Where it takes a lead on the competition is in the driver’s assistance department with Subaru EyeSight as standard across the range, this includes:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Emergency Lane Keep Assist
  • Lane Centring Function
  • Lane Departure Prevention
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Sway Warning
  • Lead Vehicle Start Alert
  • Pre-Collision Braking System
  • Pre-Collision Throttle Management
  • Autonomous Emergency Steering
  • Brake Light Recognition
  • Intelligent Speed Limiter
  • Speed Limiter
  • Speed Sign Recognition
  • Wide-angle Monocular Camera

As I turned onto the Finchley Track, the Subaru Crosstrek came into its own. The chassis remained comfortable and compliant while the suspension did its best to mitigate any excessive bouncing across the rocky fire trails. The choice to keep 18-inch alloy wheels with a decent sidewall paid off in a second across the washouts and potholes on the track.

The car never felt uncomfortable or out of place. In fact, it seemed like it wanted even more of a challenge than the basic dirt maintenance road I was testing it on. Looking to push the limits of traction and the 2 Mode X-Mode system that’s available on the Crosstrek AWD 2.0R and up, I pointed the car at some tricky offroad obstacles you’ll see in the video below.

In Snow/Dirt mode you’ll notice how the system simultaneously controls engine output and throttle response to minimize wheelspin. As one wheel loses traction, the Symmetrical AWD system’s torque split sends power to that wheel with traction. If I was using Deep Snow/Mud Mode the system would essentially do the complete opposite, finding traction through wheel speed.

Overall, I was impressed by the composure of the Subaru Crosstrek across a number of different terrains during my test. If you’re looking for a large hatchback, require all-wheel drive, and you’re looking to add a bit of adventuring, hiking, or general exploring I can’t recommend this car enough.

Is the Subaru Crosstrek Safe?

At the time of publishing, the new Crosstrek is yet to receive an official rating by ANCAP. However, when you consider every Subaru sold in Australia is rated the full 5 stars by ANCAP and Euro NCAP I’d be surprised if the new car didn’t achieve the same results, especially considering it shares the same safety features.

These include the following as standard:

  • EyeSight Driver Assist system featuring:
    • Adaptive Cruise Control
    • Emergency Lane Keep Assist
    • Lane Centring Function
    • Lane Departure Prevention
    • Lane Departure Warning
    • Lane Sway Warning
    • Lead Vehicle Start Alert
    • Pre-Collision Braking System
    • Pre-Collision Throttle Management
    • Autonomous Emergency Steering
    • Brake Light Recognition
    • Intelligent Speed Limiter
    • Speed Limiter
    • Speed Sign Recognition
    • Wide-angle Monocular Camera
  • Subaru Vision Assist featuring:
    • Blind Sport Monitor (BSM)
    • EyeSight Assist Monitor
    • Lane Change Assist (LCA)
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
    • Front Side Radar
    • Rear parking sensors
    • Reverse Automatic Braking
  • Driver Monitoring System – Driver Focus featuring:
    • Distraction warning
    • Drowsiness warning
    • Facial recognition
    • Climate control setting (last used)
    • MID display (last used)

The Crosstrek AWD 2.0R adds:

  • Subaru Vision Assist:
    • Front View Monitor (FVM)
    • High Beam Assist (HBA)
    • Panoramic 360-Degree View Monitor 
    • Side View Monitor (SVM)
Subaru crosstrek review driving on trails
At $34,990 AUD plus on-road costs, the Subaru Crosstrek leaves me wanting nothing more | Image: Supplied

Man of Many’s Verdict on the Subaru Crosstrek

If you’re looking for a car that’s comfortable for everyday use, packed with technology, full of safety features, and capable of taking you away for an adventure on the weekends, the Subaru Crosstrek ticks all the boxes.

Without sounding like a broken record, I’d love to see a little more performance out of the engine and some additional features on the inside – including powered memory seats for both the driver and passenger, seat cooling, and a heated steering wheel (available in Japan).

However, at $34,990 AUD plus on-road costs, the Subaru Crosstrek leaves me wanting nothing more. Take it on an adventure, push it a little offroad, and it might even surprise you.

Subaru Crosstrek Specifications

Crosstrek AWD 2.0L

Performance

  • Horizontally-opposed Boxer 4-cylinder, petrol engine
  • New Lineartronic® CVT with 8-speed manual mode
  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
  • Auto Stop Start
  • Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive)
  • X-Mode with hill decent control

Exterior

  • 17-inch alloy wheels (new design)
  • LED headlights
  • Dusk-sensing headlights
  • Rear combination lights with LED brake lights
  • SUBARU letter badge
  • Door mirrors – power-folding with indicators
  • Roof rails – black

Interior

  • Tricot (Tetra Embossing) cloth seat trim
  • Dual-zone, climate-control air-conditioning

Entertainment, Technology and Safety

  • Central information display with 11.6-inch touchscreen
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ connectivity3
  • USB ports – USB-A and USB-C connection
  • Wireless Qi charger2
  • 6-speaker audio
  • SRS airbags – dual front, dual front side, dual curtain, driver’s knee, far side, and front passenger seat cushion
  • EyeSight® Driver Assist system featuring:
    • Adaptive Cruise Control
    • Emergency Lane Keep Assist
    • Lane Centring Function
    • Lane Departure Prevention
    • Lane Departure Warning
    • Lane Sway Warning
    • Lead Vehicle Start Alert
    • Pre-Collision Braking System
    • Pre-Collision Throttle Management
    • Autonomous Emergency Steering
    • Brake Light Recognition
    • Intelligent Speed Limiter
    • Speed Limiter
    • Speed Sign Recognition
    • Wide-angle Monocular Camera
  • Subaru Vision Assist featuring:
    • Blind Sport Monitor (BSM)
    • EyeSight® Assist Monitor
    • Lane Change Assist (LCA)
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
    • Front Side Radar
    • Rear parking sensors
    • Reverse Automatic Braking
  • Driver Monitoring System – Driver Focus featuring:
    • Distraction warning
    • Drowsiness warning
    • Facial recognition
    • Climate control setting (last used)
    • MID display (last used)

Crosstrek AWD 2.0R adds:

Performance

  • 2 Mode X-Mode

Exterior

  • 18-inch alloy wheels (new design)
  • Front and rear wipers with front de-icer
  • Self-levelling LED headlights with auto off
  • Front cornering lamps
  • Door mirrors – heated
  • Steering Responsive Headlights (SRH)
  • Front LED fog lights
  • Roof rails – dark grey

Interior

  • Premium cloth seat trim
  • Leather steering wheel/gear shift
  • Sports pedals
  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror
  • Heated seats – driver and front passenger
  • 10-way power seat with lumbar support – driver
  • Shift boot

Entertainment, Technology and Safety

  • Rear passenger USB-A and USB-C charging ports
  • Subaru Vision Assist:
    • Front View Monitor (FVM)
    • High Beam Assist (HBA)
    • Panoramic 360 Degree View Monitor 
    • Side View Monitor (SVM)

Crosstrek AWD 2.0S adds:

Exterior

  • Electric sunroof

Interior

  • Leather accented seat trim

Entertainment, Technology and Safety

  • Satellite navigation
  • 10 speaker audio system with Harmon Kardon® amplifier

Crosstrek AWD Hybrid L

Performance

  • Horizontally-opposed e-Boxer 4-cylinder, petrol engine
  • Lineartronic® CVT with 7-speed manual mode
  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
  • Auto Stop Start
  • Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive)
  • X-Mode will hill decent control

Exterior

  • 17-inch alloy wheels (new design)
  • LED headlights
  • Dusk-sensing headlights
  • Rear combination lights with LED brake lights
  • SUBARU letter badge
  • Roof rails – black

Interior

  • Tricot (Tetra Embossing) cloth seat trim
  • Dual-zone, climate-control air-conditioning

Entertainment, Technology and Safety

  • Central information display with 11.6-inch touchscreen
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ connectivity3
  • USB ports – USB-A and USB-C connection
  • Wireless Qi charger2
  • 6-speaker audio
  • SRS airbags – dual front, dual front side, dual curtain, driver’s knee, far side, and front passenger seat cushion
  • E-Active Shift Control
  • EyeSight® Driver Assist system featuring:
    • Adaptive Cruise Control
    • Emergency Lane Keep Assist
    • Lane Centring Function
    • Lane Departure Prevention
    • Lane Departure Warning
    • Lane Sway Warning
    • Lead Vehicle Start Alert
    • Pre-Collision Braking System
    • Pre-Collision Throttle Management
    • Autonomous Emergency Steering
    • Brake Light Recognition
    • Intelligent Speed Limiter
    • Speed Limiter
    • Speed Sign Recognition
    • Wide-angle Monocular Camera
  • Subaru Vision Assist featuring:
    • Blind Sport Monitor (BSM)
    • EyeSight® Assist Monitor
    • Lane Change Assist (LCA)
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
    • Front Side Radar
    • Rear parking sensors
    • Reverse Automatic Braking
  • Driver Monitoring System – Driver Focus featuring:
    • Distraction warning
    • Drowsiness warning
    • Facial recognition
    • Climate control setting (last used)
    • MID display (last used)

Crosstrek AWD Hybrid S adds:

Performance

  • X-Mode (2 mode)

Exterior

  • Electric sunroof
  • Door mirrors – heated
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Roof rails – dark grey
  • Front fog light – LED
  • Self-levelling LED headlights with auto off
  • Front cornering lamps

Interior

  • Leather accented seat trim
  • 10-way power seat with lumbar support – driver
  • Heated seats – driver and front passenger
  • Leather steering wheel and gear shift
  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror
  • Aluminium sports pedals

Entertainment, Technology and Safety

  • Satellite navigation
  • 10 speak audio system with Harman Kardon® amplifier
  • Subaru Vision Assist:
    • High Beam Assist (HBA)
    • Panoramic 360-degree View Monitor 
    • Side View Monitor (SVM)
  • Side View Monitor (SVM)

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